ST. PAUL, MN (August 27, 2012) – On Friday night the St. Paul Saints were riding high after winning their seventh straight game and tying the Winnipeg Goldeyes for the lead in the Wild Card. Fast forward three days later and the Saints are wondering if they will be mathematically eliminated in a few days after losing 4-0 to the Goldeyes on Monday night in front of 4,614 at Midway Stadium putting them 3.0 back of the Wild Card with seven games remaining.
For the third consecutive game the Goldeyes sent out a pitcher on just three days rest and for the third straight day that starter was masterful. Matt Rusch, who leads the American Association in ERA, allowed just one runner to reach second base in his 7.1 innings of work. Through the first six innings the Saints only mustered three hits and Rusch faced one over the minimum. The Saints had their best opportunity against Rusch in the seventh when Tanner Townsend led off with a walk and Ole Sheldon reached on an error with one out. Unfortunately, Ronnie Bourquin grounded into a double play to end the inning. Rush began the eighth and left after a one out single to Miles Durham. Reliever Chris Allen came in and gave up a single to Joe Spiers and with two outs the Saints loaded the bases when Jim Rapoport reached on an error. Tanner Townsend, however, popped out to end the inning. Rusch went 7.1 shutout innings allowing four hits while walking one and striking out four while lowering his league best ERA to 2.46.
On the other side Saints starter Anthony Claggett nearly matched Rusch pitch for pitch. In the first Chris Roberson singled with one out. He advanced to second on a wild pitch, stole third and scored when catcher Alex Garabedian’s throw went into left field to give the Goldeyes a 1-0 lead.
The game stayed that way until the seventh inning when an error proved to be costly. With one out Josh Mazzola was hit by a pitch. He stole second and Luis Alen walked. Kyle Day singled to right-center scoring Mazzola to make it 2-0. With two outs Price Kendall hit a grounder to Tanner Townsend at short, but his throw to first was in the dirt and skipped passed Sheldon allowing two runs to score making it 4-0. Claggett went 7.0 innings allowing four runs (two earned) on four hits while walking two and striking out four.
The Saints head out on the road for a four game series against the Gary SouthShore Railcats beginning Tuesday night at 7:10 p.m. The Saints send RHP Kyle Ruwe (3-1, 1.81) to the mound against Railcats RHP Morgan Coombs (6-7, 4.67).